Vegan Italian Sausage Crumbles

A plant-based dish that’s full of protein takes just 15 minutes and is perfect for everything from breakfast burritos to pizza, tacos, and pasta?! Count us in. These easy vegan sausage crumbles combine protein-rich tempeh with classic Italian sausage spices like fennel and paprika for a flavorful addition to any meal.

The protein-packed base for these vegan sausage crumbles? Tempeh, a.k.a. a fermented soybean miracle with gut health-supporting prebiotics and nutrients like iron and calcium!

We cut the tempeh into cubes and add it to a food processor with Italian-inspired seasonings to ensure flavor in every bite. Fennel seeds, dried thyme, smoked paprika, and red pepper flakes contribute smokiness, herby flavor, and subtle heat, while salt enhances it all.

Next, we cook the crumbled, seasoned tempeh in a skillet in avocado (or olive) oil to give it a subtly caramelized flavor. After turning off the heat, we finish it off with tamari for rich, umami goodness and maple syrup for a sweet balance. The combination of all these flavors does a beautiful job of disguising the tempeh’s natural bitterness.


1 (8-oz) package tempeh*, cut into 1-inch cubes (ensure gluten-free as needed)

1 1/2 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like it)

2 Tbsp avocado or olive oil

1 Tbsp tamari (ensure gluten-free as needed)

2 tsp maple syrup (for flavor balance)


Add the cubed tempeh to a food processor along with the fennel seeds, thyme, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and red pepper flakes, and process for ~10-15 seconds until you achieve a chunky crumble. Be careful not to over-process, as it will break down more on the stove!

Heat a large cast iron or other rimmed skillet over medium-high heat, and once hot, add the avocado or olive oil. Add the tempeh crumbles and spread them out in an even layer. Leave the crumbles undisturbed for 5-6 minutes so they brown on the underside, then stir and cook for another couple of minutes to get evenly toasty.

Finally, turn off the heat, add the tamari and maple syrup, and mix well. Enjoy right away as a pizza topping, in pasta dishes, or tacos or burritos. Leftovers are kept for 3-4 days in the refrigerator or the freezer for up to 1 month.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *